April 2011


Health Insurance Benefit Coverage Law

To the extent that the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders are not already covered by a health benefit plan, coverage shall be included in a health benefit plan that is delivered, executed, issued, amended, adjusted, or renewed in this state on or after October 1, 2011 (Act 196 (H. 1315), L. 2011, enacted March 4, 2011, at AR ¶4-4000).

Minimum Wage Law

The current living wage rates for Sacramento are as follows: if health benefits are provided and the employer’s contribution for the benefits is at least $1.63 per hour, $10.87 per hour; if health benefits are not provided or if health benefits are provided but the employer’s contribution is less than $1.63 per hour, $12.50 per hour (CA ¶5-1000).

Minimum Wage Law

The current living wage for Hartford is as follows: $12.72 per hour if health benefits are provided, and $19.85 per hour if health benefits are not provided (CT ¶7-1000).

Recordkeeping/Posters Law

The Broward County living wage poster has been updated (FL ¶10-9900).

Workers’ Compensation Law

The state’s workers’ comp law has been amended with respect to coverage of public employees; a reference to the state insurance fund has been removed (H. 76, L. 2011, at ID ¶13-4300).

Minimum Wage Law

Effective April 1, 2011, the living wage rates for St. Louis are as follows: $11.58 per hour where health benefits are provided, and $15.08 per hour where no health benefits are provided (MO ¶26-1000).

Meal and Rest Period Law

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a mother may breastfeed her child in any public or private location where the mother is otherwise authorized to be (L.B. 197, L. 2011, enacted March 10, 2011, at NE ¶28-1400).

Preemployment Inquiries Law

On a designated implementation date on or before January 1, 2014, all persons and agents of the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles involved in the recording of verified application information or verified operator's license and state identification card information, involved in the manufacture or production of licenses or cards, or who have the ability to affect information on such licenses or cards shall be subject to a criminal history record information check, including a check of prior employment references, and a lawful status check. The cost of any background check shall be borne by the employer of the person or agent. Any person convicted of any disqualifying offense shall not be involved in the recording of verified application information or verified operator's license and state identification card information, involved in the manufacture or production of licenses or cards, or involved in any capacity in which such person would have the ability to affect information on such licenses or cards (L.B. 215, L. 2011, at NE ¶28-9000).

Unemployment Insurance Law

The current maximum weekly benefit amount is $348 (NE ¶28-1700).

Puerto Rico
Unemployment Insurance Law

Rate Schedule G is currently in effect in Puerto Rico (PR ¶40-1700).

South Dakota
Violence in the Workplace Law

South Dakota allows legal residents of the United States who meet specified criteria to obtain a concealed pistol permit. New law provides that if a background investigation requires an international criminal history check through INTERPOL, the sheriff shall issue a temporary permit to carry a concealed pistol within three business days of receiving a response from INTERPOL if the applicant otherwise meets specified requirements (H. 1149, L. 2011, at SD ¶43-3300).

Health Insurance Benefits Coverage Law

The Tennessee Health Care Freedom Act became law on March 18, 2011 (Ch.
9 (S. 79), L. 2011, at TN ¶44-4000).

Preemployment Inquiries Law

Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert on March 15, 2011, signed four immigration reform bills, which combined constitute what he calls “the Utah solution” in handling immigration issues in the state. According to Governor Herbert, “Utah has taken a thoughtful, rational approach and found common ground” (Utah Governor Gary R.. Herbert Press Release, March 15, 2011, http://www.utah.gov/governor/news_media/article.html?article=4435).

Noting that immigration is primarily a federal issue, Governor Herbert said these bills provide him some leverage at the federal level to engage the federal government in addressing Utah's challenges.  The Governor signed the following bills on March 15: H.B. 116, the Utah Immigration
Accountability and Enforcement Amendments; H.B. 466, Migrant Workers and Related Commission Amendments; H.B. 469, Immigration Related Amendments; and H.B. 497, the Utah Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act. These bills are scheduled to become effective on May 10, 2011.

The Governor referred to the summit he convened last summer to lay the groundwork for finding legislative solutions to the challenges of illegal immigration. “Stakeholders from all sides of this complex issue came together to discuss options,” he said, citing the process as one which has been “open, transparent, and civil.”

Some of the issues covered in the bills include: Records sharing and coordination and implementation of programs with other existing federal and state laws that cover immigration and labor; establishing a guestworker program; integration of immigrants in the state; creating a Migrant Worker Visa Pilot Program under which Utah businesses may obtain legal foreign migrant workers through use of U.S. nonimmigrant visas; creating a Utah Pilot Sponsored Resident Immigrant Program Act that allows for a resident immigrant to reside, work and study in Utah; and enacting the Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act to require an officer to verify the immigrant status of a person arrested for certain crimes (UT ¶46-9000).

Workers’ Compensation Law

The state has enacted a law providing for the establishment of medical provider networks for workers’ compensation purposes (Ch. 6 (S. 5801), L. 2011, effective July 1, 2011, at WA ¶49-4300).

West Virginia
Military and Emergency Services Leave Law

The state has amended its military leave law with respect to National Guard/armed forces reserve members and the maximum number of hours they are eligible for leave from public employment in a calendar year (S. 382, L. 2011, passed February 24, 2011; in effect 90 days from passage, at WV ¶50-7200).

Family, Medical and Parental Leaves Law
The Wisconsin Court of Appeals has upheld an ordinance passed by the City of Milwaukee requiring employers to provide paid sick leave to their workers, reversing a state circuit court ruling declaring the measure unconstitutional and lifting a two-year injunction barring the city from enacting its provisions (Metro Milwaukee Assoc of Commerce v City of Milwaukee, March 24, 2011, Vergeront, M, P.J.). The appeals court found that the ballot measure by which the ordinance had been passed was in compliance with statutory requirements. Moreover, the ordinance itself and the specific provisions at issue did not violate due process and were not preempted by various state laws, the NLRA, or the LMRA. Nor does the ordinance violate state and federal constitutional prohibitions against impairment of contracts (a finding the lower court also made), or impermissibly regulate activity outside Milwaukee’s city limits.
The appeals court reversed and remanded the case, instructing the lower court to enter summary judgment to 9to5, National Association of Working Women. (9to5 first led the drive to pass the paid sick leave ballot measure, and challenged the lower court’s ruling against it.) The two-year statutory period for repealing the ordinance will begin once the lower court vacates the permanent injunction on remand, the appeals court also ruled—rejecting 9to5’s claim that the two-year period should have begun on February 6, 2009, before the temporary injunction was issued (To be reported).

Health Insurance Benefit Coverage Law

Effective July 1, 2011, when an employer or trustee of a fund established or adopted by an employer, which employer or trustee is deemed the policyholder of the group disability insurance policy insuring the employer’s employees for the benefit of persons other than the employer and where the employer or trustee routinely pays any part of the premium for the policy, if the employer or trustee fails to pay the routinely paid portion of the premium when required under the policy for any reason, the employer or trustee shall notify the employee or beneficiary, electronically or in writing, within 30 days of the failure to pay (Act 20 (H. 114), L. 2011, at WY ¶52-4000).